Sleep Disorders: Common Causes, Symptoms & Types

Good sleep is essential for our overall well-being. But getting enough restful nights can feel like an impossible task when you suffer from a sleep disorder. Sleep disorders come in many forms and degrees of severity, making it difficult for sufferers to make sense of their symptoms. 

This blog post will deeply dive into the common symptoms and types of sleep disorders. From insomnia to narcolepsy to sleep apnea and more, learn what each disorder entails to understand your struggles with sleep better.

Read More: What Is Insomnia? Check Symptoms And Treatment

Causes of Sleep Disorders

Various factors, including medical problems, medications, and sleep habits, cause sleep disorders. 

  • Health issues that can lead to sleep disorders include heart disease, respiratory problems, and neurological disorders. 
  • Medications that can lead to sleep disorders include antidepressants, beta-blockers, and antihistamines. 
  • Poor sleep habits. that can lead to sleep disorders include irregular sleep schedules and excessive caffeine or alcohol consumption.

Common Sleep Disorders Types

There are many different types of sleep disorders, each with its symptoms. 

A. Insomnia

Among the different sleep disorders types, the most common is insomnia. People with insomnia may wake up frequently during the night or early in the morning and have trouble getting back to sleep.

Insomnia can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). Stress or a major life event, such as a death in the family, a job loss, or a move usually causes acute insomnia. It typically lasts a few days to a couple of weeks and goes away. Chronic insomnia lasts for more than a month and can be caused by anything from anxiety and depression to physical pain.

There are several treatment options for insomnia, including medication, cognitive behavioural therapy, and making lifestyle changes. Medication can help with short-term insomnia, but it is not recommended for long-term use. Cognitive behavioural therapy can help people change their thoughts and behaviours around sleep. Lifestyle changes, such as avoiding caffeine and creating a bedtime routine, can also be helpful.

B. Sleep Apnea

Have you ever told someone that their breathing pauses for a whale during sleep? Or has someone told you that your breathing stops for a few seconds while you sleep? 

Well, that’s Sleep apnea disorder. If ignored, the disorder can escalate into other severe health problems, including abnormal blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

The pauses in breathing can last for a few seconds or several minutes and occur up to 30 times an hour. As a result, people with sleep apnea often experience poor sleep quality and excessive daytime sleepiness.  

Sleep apnea is of two types:

1. Obstructive sleep apnea(more common disorder)

2. Central sleep apnea( less common disorder)

With either type of sleep apnea, you can have several pauses in breathing during the same night. You may only remember these pauses if you’re told about them by someone else who observed you during sleep or if you monitor your sleeping habits.

C. Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a disorder that causes excessive sleepiness and can interfere with a person’s ability to stay awake during the day. People with narcolepsy disorder may have difficulty staying awake for long periods and fall asleep unexpectedly during the day.

Narcolepsy can negatively affect a person’s quality of life. It can affect a person both on the professional and personal front. Someone experiencing this sleep disorder may start feeling depressed as well.

As far as a cure is concerned, the disorder is still not completely treatable. However, people can still manage the condition with lifestyle changes, medication, and therapy.

D. Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a disorder that causes an intense, often irresistible urge to move your legs. The urge is usually worse when you’re resting or sitting down, making it hard to sleep.

In some cases, RLS may lead to periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD). It is a condition a person moves their legs involuntarily while sleeping.

RLS is also known as Willis-Ekbom disease. It’s a neurological disorder and can run in families, but it’s unclear what causes it. There’s no cure for RLS, but treatments can help relieve symptoms. 


Symptoms of Sleep Disorders

There are a variety of sleep disorders that can cause a range of symptoms. Common sleep disorder symptoms  include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Waking up frequently during the night
  • Feeling tired during the day.
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings

If you experience these symptoms regularly, you must see a doctor or sleep specialist to rule out a sleep disorder.

Sleep Disorders Diagnosis

Diagnosis of a sleep disorder can be made in various ways, depending on the specific disorder. However, standard methods of diagnosing a sleep disorder include taking a patient’s medical history, conducting a physical examination, and ordering sleep studies.

There are some sleep disorders tests as well. The most common one is a sleep study. It is a test that is done in a sleep lab. During a sleep study, a device is connected to the individual’s wrist to track sleep patterns. In rare sleep disorders, electrodes are also used to track brain waves.

Sleep Disorders Treatment

There are many different sleep disorders, and the best way to treat them depends on the specific disorder. However, some available treatments can help with most sleep disorders.

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that can help people change their thoughts and behaviours around sleep. CBT can effectively treat insomnia, parasomnias, and restless legs syndrome.
  • Medications such as benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepines can help with insomnia. Medications such as dopaminergic drugs and anticonvulsants can help with restless legs syndrome. Medications such as tricyclic antidepressants can help with narcolepsy.

You must see a doctor or a sleep specialist if you have a sleep disorder. They will be able to diagnose your disorder and develop the best treatment plan for you.

Sleep Disorder FAQs

Are there any DIY sleep problem solutions?

There are a few DIY sleep problem solutions that may help. First and foremost, follow a good sleep schedule and stick to it as much as possible. Next, do not consume caffeine and alcohol before bed. Finally, create a relaxing bedtime routine. Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and calm, and try using a white noise app to block distractions. 

Does sleep insomnia meditation work?

The effects of meditation on sleep insomnia will vary from person to person. Some people may find that meditation helps them to fall asleep more quickly, while others may find that it helps improve their sleep quality.

Can women face sleep problems during pregnancy?

Yes, women can face sleep problems during pregnancy. This is often due to the many physical and emotional changes during pregnancy. Some common sleep problems during pregnancy include difficulty falling asleep, frequent awakenings, and restless legs syndrome.

Final Words

There are many sleep disorders, and not all of them are easy to detect. Suppose you have been experiencing any common symptoms mentioned in this article—such as difficulty falling or staying asleep. In that case, discussing these concerns with your doctor is essential to ensure you do not suffer from an underlying sleep disorder. With the proper treatment and a good understanding of how your body responds to restful nights, you can get back on track and enjoy better health overall.

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